Vernon Burch

Get Up

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In the late '70s and early '80s, some people argued that Vernon Burch had made a big mistake by leaving the Bar-Kays. At the time, the Bar-Kays were huge. A combo that was originally known for Memphis soul had successfully reinvented itself as a hardcore funk band, and its albums of the period were doing a lot better than Burch's solo efforts. Naturally, some people couldn't help but wonder if Burch would have been better off sticking around for smashes like "Holy Ghost" and "Shake Your Rump to the Funk." But he didn't want to spend his entire career as the Bar-Kays' guitarist; he was determined to see what he could accomplish on his own. Recorded in 1979, Get Up was Burch's second album for Chocolate City/Casablanca and his fourth solo album overall. This LP, which marked the first time he worked with producer/drummer James E. Gadson, was a departure from his previous releases in that it found him emphasizing dance-oriented material. "Once Again in My Life" is the record's only ballad, and Burch is obviously going after the disco crowd on up-tempo dance items like "Arrogant Lady," "Never Can Find the Way (Hot Love)," and "Dr. Do It Good." Even the familiar "Try a Little Tenderness" (a major hit for Otis Redding in the 1960s) gets the disco-funk treatment. Get Up isn't a masterpiece, but it's generally enjoyable -- and it was an improvement over 1978's Love-A-Thon.

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